The U. S. love of nuts includes hazelnuts, also known as filberts. There is much discussion about the name. Are they filberts or hazelnuts? Stand in the grocery store and listen to the arguments. In the 1980s the name hazelnut was made official deciding the question. These small nuts have had several names over the 5,000 years, they have been known to have been traded. A midden has been found at an archaeological site with lots of shells showing they were probably sold commercially in Scotland way back then. Evidence of these nuts from about this same time has been found in South China.
Hazelnuts almost became extinct in this country because of a blight that attacked trees sometime in the 1970s. The nuts, grown for the most part in Willamette Valley in Oregon, dropped in crop volume because of the blight that threatened to destroy the nut and the livelihood of the area farmers. A blight-resistant tree was developed, the Jefferson Tree, and that tree began to replace the diseased trees successfully about 1980. It was then the name officially became hazelnut.
The crop then took off again, and though the nuts lost popularity during the blight, they are gaining popularity back. Sales are increasing each year. 99% of American volume comes from the Oregon Willamette Valley. A primary source for these nuts is Cascade Foods.
Raised in Turkey, Italy, and the US, the bulk of nuts come from Turkey. They become ripe about the end of August through November. Turkey raises the bulk of world trade.
Health and Nutrients
In years past, these nuts meant fertility and were favored at weddings. It was thought to be associated with wisdom and knowledge.
Hazelnuts work great with chocolate, in deserts and bread, salads, and other foods. Recipes in Holland Sweden, showcase them. They are also known for their nutrients, vitamin E which is an antioxidant, and Folate, which is a vitamin B.